Mr A J Mulvey and Mr P Cunningham, the Nationalist MPs for Fermanagh and Tyrone who, although elected in November 1935, had never taken their seats, took the oath at the House of Commons, Westminster, yesterday.
An amusing circumstance about their arrival was that nobody knew them. The policemen had never set eyes on them and fellow MPs, with one exception, were quite unaware of their identity. The exception was Mr J Beattie, Independent Labour member for West Belfast, who showed them around.
Mr Cunningham and Mr Mulvey issued a joint statement last night, stating: “We have come to the Westminster Parliament with the object of doing everything in our power to forward the claim of the Irish people for the unity and sovereignty of the Irish nation, unnaturally divided 25 years ago by the British Government.
“In that period, in the six ‘partitioned’ counties of North-East Ulster, the British Government has encouraged and maintained a reactionary Tory minority.
“Taking Ireland as a whole, with a population of over 4,000,000, only about 800,000 in the north-East can be classed as supporters of the great wrong that has been perpetrated on our country.
“We believe, in the present changed political circumstances in Britain, our policy can be best served by attendance. Now we trust that the age of privilege may be brought to an end in Ireland, as it has been brought to an end in Britain.
“Partition remains the sole obstacle to friendship between Britain and Ireland, and, so long as it is permitted to exist, must continue to poison the relations between the two countries.”